People on the Move

Arkansas Public Service Commission chair Colette Honorable was elected president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) at the organization’s 125th annual meeting in November. She succeeds outgoing president Philip Jones of Washington State. NARUC members also elected commissioners Lisa Edgar of Florida as first vice president, and Susan Ackerman of Oregon as second vice president. All officers will serve one-year terms.

In November, President Obama nominated Ellen D. Williams, chief scientist for BP, to lead the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, the DOE program that supports research into “breakthrough” technologies. The president also nominated a senior Defense Department official, Madelyn Creedon, to be principal deputy administrator of the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile and has several nuclear nonproliferation programs.

In November, Obama named Cheryl A. LaFleur acting chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). She joined FERC in 2010 and already serves as the FERC liaison to the DOE’s Electricity Advisory Committee. LeFleur is a member of NARUC’s committees on electricity and critical infrastructure, and she co-chaired the FERC/NARUC Forum on Reliability and the Environment.

In January, John Podesta agreed to join the White House staff for one year as a counselor to President Obama. The former Clinton administration chief of staff and founder of the Center for American Progress is returning to the White House to focus on energy and climate issues; however, those issues will not include the Keystone XL pipeline, a project Podesta has been a vocal opponent of in the past.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality will soon be without any Senate-confirmed leaders. Chairwoman Nancy Sutley is stepping down in February, and her former deputy, Gary Guzy, left in December. The president has not nominated anyone to fill their positions.

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is expected to take over as chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The position will open up if current chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) takes over the Senate Finance Committee from Max Baucus (D-MT), who was nominated to serve as ambassador to China. Landrieu has strong ties to the oil and natural gas industries in her home state of Louisiana.

After 20 consecutive terms in the House of Representatives, Henry Waxman (D-CA) is retiring. Over his career, the former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee was instrumental in passing several watershed pieces of legislation, among them the Clean Air Act and the Affordable Care Act. President Obama called him “one of the most accomplished legislators of his or any era.”

Anthony V. Cugini resigned his post as director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in November after being indicted by a federal grand jury for obstruction of justice. According to the indictment, in connection with a DOE investigation regarding misuse of his position, Cugini attempted to conceal and destroy evidence by directing witnesses to delete and redesignate NETL computer files and records and to provide false information in response to investigative inquiries. If convicted, Cugini faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.

New York governor Andrew M. Cuomo appointed Alfred Griffin, a banking veteran from Citigroup, as the president of the New York Green Bank, a $1 billion initiative to leverage private-sector financing for clean energy projects throughout the state.

The Alliance to Save Energy added five new members to its board of directors. Representing businesses across the energy industry, the new members are Kim Greene, Southern Company president and CEO; David Hopping, Siemens vice president of building performance and sustainability; Jane Palmieri, business president of Dow Building & Construction; Jim Pauley, Schneider Electric senior vice president of external affairs and government relations; and Heath Shuler, Duke Energy senior vice president of federal affairs.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) also announced new board members, as well as the formation of a research advisory board. The new board members are Janice Berman of Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Denise Fairchild of Emerald Cities Collaborative, and Clay Nesler of Johnson Controls. The research advisory board, which will advise ACEEE’s research staff, is chaired by ACEEE board member Dr. Maxine Savitz.